A thread count literally counts the number of horizontal and vertical threads that make up each square inch of fabric used to make your sheets.
It counts the threads that go straight up and down, lengthwise – this is the ‘warp’ – as well as the threads that interweave across the warp, widthwise – the ‘weft’. Essentially, a thread count (TC) tells you how tightly woven the fabric is.
<<<<Insert here [Image of warp/weft or basic weave - maybe you can edit one of the sketches you have?]
So far, so simple. But here’s where cheating happens: most thread-count figures are a creative – ahem – fabrication on the part of marketeers and manufacturers, who have nurtured the notion that more is, well, more. Don’t beat yourself up for assuming you’re being told the truth; after all, it makes sense to assume that, the more threads there are occupying the same ‘space’, the finer (and therefore the more refined and luxurious) the resulting bedlinen must be.
So common is this misconception that it has trickled down to other products; consumers are now obsessed with facts and figures, from the number of springs in their mattress to the tog rating of their duvet. And manufacturers have been quick to exploit the idea that ‘bigger is better’ – a pocket-sprung mattress, for example, surely that’s better if it has a higher number of springs? Nope. To inflate the spring count, coils can be stacked or nested, compromising real comfort or quality.
Alongside spring counts, greenwashing and other misleading information, super-high thread counts are just one of the bedtime fairy-tales dreamt up by marketeers to persuade you to buy their products.